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Psyche

A lead copy of  F. Derwent Wood’s bronze statue of Psyche was set up here on the west side of the bridge by Chelsea Arts Club in 1919. Webb also sculpted the nude David of the Machine Gun Corps Memorial, a (poor) copy of which stands in nearby Cheyne Walk (right).

Albert Bridge
Tube: Sloane Square (20mins)

The Boy David

When Derwent Wood's original was stolen in 1963, this copy was made by (Edward) Bainbridge Copnall MBE (1903-1973). His father was the photographer, Edward White Copnall. His usual style is more abstract (see his Becket in the gardens of St Paul’s), so this is not a bad effort.

Ropers Garden SW3
Tube: Sloane Square (15mins)

What is it with artist’s models? The first chance they get, their clothes seem to drop off. But it seems that the preoccupation with nudity is not a modern one; look around London and the city blossoms with naked or half-naked sculpture.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

I See Naked People

Achilles

This tribute to the Duke of Wellington and his men, cast by Sir Richard Westmacott from captured cannon, was unveiled in 1822. Oddly, the sword was only added in 1864. London’s first nude, it caused controversy and so a fig leaf was added. It has been broken off twice, in 1870 and again in 1961.

Hyde Park W1
Tube: Hyde Park Corner

Arthur Sullivan Memorial

This lady, mourning the death of the composing half of Gilbert & Sullivan, who produced 14 comic operas between them, is so upset that she has lost half her clothes. This beautiful piece by Goscombe John actually represents the distraught Muse of Music.

Victoria Embankment Gardens
Tube: Embankment

The Awakening

Standing in front of Chelsea Old Church is this small garden – an orchard for Sir Thomas More in the 1500s. Bombed in 1941, it holds a memorial to Jacob Epstein, whose studio was here from 1909-14, and this lovely nude by sculptor Gilbert Ledward (1888-1960), more noted for his war memorials.

Ropers Garden SW3
Tube: Sloane Square (15mins)

Palace Theatre

High atop the theatre, you can see this lovely lady, her modesty barely preserved by a long headscarf. Built by Richard D’Oyly Carte in 1888, the theatre was to be the home of English grand opera. It was the venue for Fred Astaire’s final stage musical, Gay Divorce, in 1933.

Cambridge Circus W1
Tube: Leicester Square

Onslow Ford Memorial

Overlooked by the many visitors to the famous pedestrian crossing at Abbey Road is this memorial to the sculptor Onslow Ford (1852-1901), which features a replica of his famous Shelley Memorial at Oxford. Ford also sculpted Rowland Hill’s statue near St Paul’s.

Abbey Rd/Grove End Rd NW8
Tube: St John's Wood

La Delivrance

Viscount Rothermere had this copy of a racy statue by Emile Guillaume put here in 1927, where he could see it on his way to visit his mother. It marks the victory of the French and British in World War I and especially the First Battle of the Marne in 1914, which saved Paris.

Henley's Corner NW3
Tube: Golders Green, Bus 102
Wikipedia entry

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New Adelphi

This Grade II Listed building has four giant allegorical nudes: ‘Dawn' by Bainbridge Copnall), 'Contemplation' by Arthur J Ayres (pictured), 'Inspiration' by Gilbert Ledward and 'Night' by Donald Gilbert. They are some compensation for the destruction of the original Adams Adelphi Terrace.

Adelphi Terrace WC2
Tube: Charing Cross

Vintner’s Place

This smirking nude by Herbert Palliser (1883-1963) shows a Bacchante with grapes and goats. Palliser was Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy and a tutor of Jacob Epstein. The swans nearby refer to the fact the Vintners share with the Queen (and the Dyers) the right to some of the swans on the Upper Thames.

Queen Street Place EC4

Tube: Cannon Street

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Australia House

This bronze, Phoebus Driving the Horses of the Sun, is by Bertram Mackennal. In 1894, Australian artist Mackennal caused controversy when his life-size nude of Circe was shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, offending Victorian sensibilities but causing the 31-year-old sculptor’s career to take off.

Strand WC2
Tube: Temple

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Victoria Station

This pair of mermaid caryatids by sculptor Henry C Fehr (1867-1940) date to 1908. He is noted for another giant nude, that of Perseus rescuing Andromeda, which stands outside Tate Britain. You can also see his work on the refurbished Middlesex Guildhall in Parliament Square.

Victoria Station SW1
Tube: Victoria

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